If you don’t know, Taiwan has 4 main convenience store chains: Ok-Mart, and Hi-Life Family Mart, and 7-11. They all tend to serve the same type of things and the price is almost always the same, but let’s be honest here. 7-11 easily takes the crown. 7-11 (in my opinion) has a better selection in almost everything they sell, aesthetically looks and feels nicer, their food tastes better, and you can find a nice collection of EasyCards if you fancy for one.
First of all, these stores are legit everywhere. You can go down just about any block in Taipei and see a convenience store nearby. Sometimes they are so close, you wonder why that would be the case? Taipei alone has over 10,000+ convenience stores and Taipei itself is only 271.8 km² large. Do you really need that many convenient stores?
You can find them:
On the corner
Right below an apartment building
In the cut (of a super narrow alley)
Right beside a pharmacy (where queues will always block your entry)
Under an office building
Also, convenience stores rule Taiwan. You can pay your bills, print documents and pictures, buy coffee, buy soft-serve ice cream, buy concert tickets, buy train tickets, ship packages, pick up packages, buy makeup, check out their book selection, and even serve as your inexpensive pregame location: Club 7.
When I go in a 7-11 or any convenience store, these are some of my typical go-to items when I want to snack on something.
This small 20NT vanilla-flavored ice cream really hits me on those really hot and humid days biking around the city. Its cheap, gets the job done, and tastes decent. I am pretty sure I have bought 50+ of these things since I have lived in Taiwan. Its so cheap like why not?!
Pea Cracker chips can be found in just about any setting: picnic with friends, a get together at a friend’s place, drinking Taiwan beer, etc. They are very light corn flavored chips, and a great snack to eat when you’re not too hungry.
Have you ever heard of Watermelon flavored milk? Me either, but I tried it, didn’t like it too much, but can’t miss out on those that catch your eye right?
Onigiri for life! I love these seaweed wrapped in rice and assorted fillings. My general go-to flavors are the salmon or tuna ones.
When I don’t have a chance to eat breakfast, this is where my savior comes through. This is a tuna sandwich with a poached egg inside. I prefer these type of sandwiches heated, but the staff tend to throw a fit sometimes due to fish being inside. Yeah yeah yeah, whatever, heat it up anyway!
Great flavored Milk Tea without the tapioca balls. This brand has quite a few flavors, but if you are in Taiwan, I would recommend to just visit a local tea shop instead. This is quite expensive and the amount in this container could be swallowed in one gulp.
Another Taiwan staple, these sweet ball flavored treats are also great for gatherings. I recently started buying these for my kindergarten kids to indulge on when they do good.
This Strawberry Cake bar reminds me of the Strawberry Shortcake Bars that I can buy back home, but not as tasty, but it works.
Japan’s popular ice cream brand, Meji has a solid line of ice cream bars to choose from including this Cookies and Cream one. Who doesn’t not love Cookies and Cream anyway?
I would 100% recommend any of their chicken for its so flavorful, juicy, yummy, and surprisingly tastes fresh. It definitely won’t fill you up, but a great snack when you are in a hurry or a bit tipsy.
I love me some steamed dumplings! When you had a long night out drinking and could not make it to your 24 hour Soy Milk place or McDonalds, this is legit the next best thing.
In terms of alcohol, this is my go to drink when going out. I don’t really like beer, so cider all the way! Normally, if I want to keep it light, chill, and relaxed, I grab this. But…
Now this Long Island Iced Beer doesn’t really taste like beer. I would place it more in the wine-cooler category, except with a bit of a kick. This drink is by Taihu, which is Taiwan’s very well known home made beer with local tasting flavors. So if you wanna feel a bit of something and want to have a good time, this beer will hit the spot. Its not too sweet, not to beer-tasting (for all my non-beer drinkers) and is made of 9.9% alcohol and cost 99NT.
If you just wanna be basic, and cheap, you can grab your typical Taiwan Beer. Its light, a bit sweet, but its standard. Great mixer for Soju, and the Pea Crackers from above.
In Taiwan, they also have quite a few themed 7-11 locations. We’ll look at 2.
This one is located right in the heart of Ximen along the Movie Theater Street and its super Layed-out.
When you first enter inside, all the cooked food is towards the right such as the tea eggs, sausages, fish balls, sweet potatoes etc.
To the left, there’s a cool seating area with an assortment of Lays merchandise.
In each table, it has its own unique design. Just look at this Lays foosball custom-made one
On the ceiling, you notice the Lays logo along with the signature yellow wall color for #details
Now let’s cut to the chase and head to the almost dedicated Lays Chips aisle (damn you Doritos). Taiwan has some unique flavors such as:
And if you don’t want to get the traditional bag of Lays, you can also go grab yourself Lays Stacks. But let’s be real here, you can find most of these Lays flavors across most 7-11 shop and in grocery stores.
Cash Register area looks kinda cool as well
Mickey Mouse 7-11
Located right by Taipei Arena Station, its really a nice quaint shop. I honestly would have never known it was there. It’s behind the stadium on a street full of construction.
Inside, there were a ton of places to sit. And surprisingly enough for it to be just 3pm, many people were occupying the seats working away.
I know what you are thinking, it does not look like many people were here, but literally as soon as I took this picture, a flood of people came in.
I love the decor around the store. It’s not too much. I find the colors and design balancing out just right.
And we go through the aisles to see:
A look inside 7-11s in the US
The US also has 7-11, but man does, Taiwan’s 7-11s far exceeds the ones back home. Take a quick look at a local 7-11 back in my hometown of Washington, DC. Thanks to my sister for providing the photos.
Slushies are still 7-11s mostly bought item. I remember just going in, trying all the flavors and sometimes just walking out without even buying one. So savage, I know, but we all did this back in DC.
Drinks, over here, drinks over there, drinks everywhere.
Gummies, oh how so much I miss you especially the Airheads and Gushers.
Back in middle/high school, this was our after school snack: a hotdog, maybe some hot wings and a beef patty from 7-11.
I will never forget the time I went to a 7-11 in Denver and my friend ordered the hotdog, the cashier dropped it on the floor, and what did he do? He proceeded to put it into the bun and served it to my friend. And that’s when I stopped eating them.
Cashier doesn’t look too happy to have his picture taken. Amidst the Coronavirus situation, people still have to work, money has to be made and employers gotta protect their employees. A transparent sheet is a new sighting for me.
Doing it big
Right in Gongguan close to the riverside, this one is probably the biggest 7-11 I have ever seen. They have a ton of outdoor and indoor seating, a book store, a cafe, full makeup section, merchandise area, self microwave area, a bathroom (a rarity amongst convenience stores), and you can also buy beer on tap.
To end this post off, dropping many more 7-11 locations in Taipei